If you like us on Facebook, you already know that my husband and I took our two kids on a month long trip to New Zealand. People thought we were crazy, and maybe we were, but it was amazing and I would do it again in a heart beat. The question I get asked the most is; how did we do it?
We sandwiched the time in between trips to San Francisco. That way we were able to visit friends, attend our cousin's wedding and just take an overnight flight direct to New Zealand. New Zealand is 17 hours ahead so we didn't get too bad of jet lag with such a drastic time difference!
We got the bassinet for Ceci and Kennedy had her own seat on the plane both ways. On the way there, we had the three seats with the window which was nice but on the way back we had four seats and the bassinet... which was NICER. Kennedy watched the iPad until she fell asleep (judge all you want it's called survival mode) and was able to lay down over two seats pretty comfortably while Ceci spent the majority of the time sleeping in the bassinet. Hello free wine on Air New Zealand!
We packed lightly ( my husband will still say I over packed) as in two suitcases including all of our hiking gear. We each also brought a backpack (mine was my Diaper Bag which I am obsessed with... I definitely regret not going the diaper back pack route the first time around!) For carrying the kids (Kennedy was just over 2 and Ceci was 4 months old), we took our Maclaren Triumph Stroller, our Ergobaby 360 and our Kelty Journey 2.0 Child Carrier. All of which were saving graces. The stroller was more for our time in San Francisco but it did come in handy in Queenstown and Christchurch.
We "camped" at holiday parks every 3 days or so to do laundry, dump waste and fill back up on water. The other days we either freedom camped or camped at DOC sites (which had the best views, hello waking up on the Marlborough Sounds).
We rented an RV in lieu of moving every few days and it was worth it's weight in gold. Not only was it so nice to always have everything with us, we were also able to alter our route once we were there due to weather or because of recommendations.
We did big hikes every few days and did little hikes the other days. The unbelievable views and beautiful weather made it easy to want to be outside and explore.
We grocery shopped and cooked 99% of our meals. We tried to buy what was local and would make an easy meal. I think we went out to eat twice and weren't super impressed either time. Plus, going out to eat with two kids is really not that much fun.
We potty trained our oldest. Diapers are heavy, especially for two kids, so we potty trained a couple of months before our trip. Did we have accidents? Yes (and we still do), but doing some extra laundry was worth not having to carry around a second set of diapers everywhere we went.
We brought along our sound machine in order to have the older kiddo sleep above the driver and passenger seats while our youngest slept (with us) in the back of the RV. Of course, it didn't drown out all the noise but it definitely helped in putting them to bed!
We bought special sticker books, books and small toys for Kennedy. Anything that didn't fit in her backpack, didn't come. We did wish we brought more books but that's only because Kennedy is straight up book worm!
We spent our entire time in the South Island in order to really do it. We heard the North Island was a lot of beaches and honestly, there's nothing less relaxing than vacationing on a beach with a two year old (without grandparents). We'll just have to go back again to do the North Island :)
It was definitely the trip of a lifetime and came up to all of the hype. I think the RV made for the perfect trip with kids and we're already dreaming of the next trip!
And, just for fun, Ryan made a video of the highlights of our travels, check it out!